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"I wanted to entertain people," Gitman says. "It really wasn't a sex thing, because you're not getting positions like you see in a porno. Guys can't perform in that way. They don't have the stamina or the self-confidence or the experience to pick up a leg and... you know. You have to film at a distance to make it work."
The money was flowing again, just as it had when she ran the escort service in Ohio. But last summer, Gitman picked up a young college student from Tampa. The night went as it usually did. The scene was shot. But then the man had second thoughts, Gitman remembers. He worried about repercussions, future embarrassment from having participated in the film.
And then he turned toward Gitman. "He looked at me like I was the devil," Gitman recalls, "and I felt like the devil."
It solidified Gitman's spiritual awakening. In the weeks prior, she'd been reading more and meditating frequently. She believed she had learned to cross over to a spiritual side, and that night, as the young man stared at her, spent and scared, she gave up the flesh trade.
"I think she found a greater mission in life," says an ex-boyfriend who asked that his name not be published due to his continued involvement in the local adult industry. "In porn, you can make a lot of money. Everybody knows that. But now Simone's looking for something more."
Two months ago, she placed advertisements in local newspapers, including this one, promoting a service called "Direct Dial God." Gitman, who now lives off the money she made in the porn industry, wants to be a disciple, helping others find God just as she's helped some of her friends.
"Simone always seemed out for herself," remembers Cindy Miller, a Hollywood woman who worked as a dominatrix for Gitman. "Now, she's a totally changed person. She has more of an understanding and respect for others. Since my meditation experience with her, I've noticed great things, positive changes in my life."
Gitman sits inches away from me on the couch, breathing deeply with my rhythm. I'm sitting in the imaginary white room, as she instructed. It's here that I'm supposed to find God or hear a voice from the great beyond. I do indeed see something in my mind: a shadow cast on a wall, viewed as if I'd placed my head too close to make out the entire image. It's uninspiring.
Yet Gitman is hopeful. "It'll take time," she says, kissing me on the cheek as I leave. "People need to realize that God is within them."
It took her a while. Now she feels it everywhere. But I'm still not sure I do.